Clean Energy Drives Sumitomo Sale of Chilean Copper Mine Stake

Clean Energy Drives Sumitomo Sale of Chilean Copper Mine Stake

November 3, 2021

For more than a century, Sullivan & Cromwell’s premier Latin America practice and our deep ties to the region have positioned us to advise clients on many of Latin America’s most important transactions. In the most recent major deal, we advised long-time clients Sumitomo Metal Mining and Sumitomo Corporation on the sale of their collective 45 percent interest in the Sierra Gorda copper mine in Chile. This marks one of the biggest mining deals in recent years and illustrates the desire for new players to gain access to copper and other materials to serve the growing demand for clean energy and related products.

The Firm was intimately familiar with the Sierra Gorda operation, as it had advised both Sumitomo Metal Mining and Sumitomo Corporation when they acquired their 45 percent interest and entered into joint venture arrangements related to the mine in 2011. It has also represented Sierra Gorda on financing matters for nearly a decade.

To facilitate the sale, an S&C team in New York, London, Tokyo and Los Angeles led a process that stretched across more than 18 months and required coordination and negotiations with parties in six time zones. The team helped the clients overcome the challenges posed by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Chile, which, among other things, presented significant hurdles to visiting the site for the diligence process. 

On October 14, the Sumitomo entities announced that they had agreed to sell their interests to a subsidiary of South32 Limited, an Australian company that will co-own Sierra Gorda alongside Poland's KGHM Polska Miedz, for up to $2.2 billion. 

A hallmark of our Latin America practice is that it is not a “regional” practice. “Our strength lies in our ability to draw on our lawyers across the world who have the best skills and experience to help clients achieve their goals,” says Sergio Galvis, the head of S&C’s Latin America practice. “This deal illustrates the benefits of that approach.”

Learn more about our Latin America and Latin America M&A and Joint Ventures practices and our ESG practice.

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